Gary Smulyan is a jazz musician who plays baritone saxophone. He studied at SUNY before working with Woody Herman. He currently leads a trio with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington.
Smulyan is also the current baritone saxophonist with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and played with its previous incarnation, the Mel Lewis Big Band. He also plays baritone saxophone with the Dave Holland Big Band and Octet, and the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, and he has performed and recorded with Carla Bley’s Big Band.
Smulyan’s biggest influence is Pepper Adams. When Adams died, Smulyan recorded an album entitled Homage, which featured eight pieces composed by Adams. He has recorded additional albums for Criss Cross Jazz, as well as Reservoir Records, including the critically acclaimed “High Noon: The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine,” featuring arrangements by Mark Masters.
Since 2006, Smulyan has served as artistic director at the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He and his wife, pianist and conductor Joan Cornachio, live with their family in nearby Amherst.
Smulyan has consistently been ranked as the Number 1 baritone saxophone player in the annual Downbeat Readers and Critics polls. He is considered the standard bearer of his generation for the baritone saxophone.